Michael Bishop threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 29-24 victory over the visiting Toronto Argonauts Saturday night.
The Boatmen fell to 3-9 with the loss, while the Bombers improved to 4-8, snapped a three-game losing streak, and are now one game behind the final Canadian Football League playoff spot, currently held by the B.C. Lions (5-7).
Toronto’s Cody Pickett started behind centre in his sixth-straight game but struggled to move the ball and was replaced by Kerry Joseph in the second half. Joseph, Toronto’s opening day starter, threw 123 yards and rushed for a touchdown.
The Argos were trailing 29-9 after three quarters and scored 15 points in the fourth.
After a number of minor altercations over the course of the game, both team’s tempers erupted 30 seconds into the final quarter following a Bombers interception.
Winnipeg defenders Siddeeq Shabaaz and Dorian Smith, and Toronto’s Rob Murphy and Zeke Moreno were ejected from the game for fighting.
Winnipeg’s quarterback woes have been apparent all season and with his job on the line, Bishop stepped up at the right time.
Over his last three games, the former Argo pivot threw six interceptions and only two touchdowns.
In the Sept. 20 contest against Montreal, Bishop was taken out of the game in favour of Casey Bramlet. One day later, the Bombers acquired QB Ricky Santos in a trade with the Alouettes.
Bishop responded with his second best game in terms of yardage this season.
Six minutes into the second quarter, Winnipeg was on first and goal, but Toronto’s secondary denied two pass attempts from Bishop and the Bombers had to settle for a field goal to go up 10-6.
Winnipeg scored the game’s first touchdown with three minutes to go in the half when Bishop completed a short pass to Fred Reid, who ran 24 yards up the middle for a touchdown, giving the Bombers a 17-6 advantage.
They went into halftime up 17-9.
Pickett accumulated only 98 yards through the first half as the Argos struggled to move the ball. Joseph took over nine minutes into the second half and his first pass was picked off by Winnipeg defensive back Lenny Walls.
Five minutes into the second half, Bishop completed a red-zone pass to Brock Ralph, who fumbled the ball on the one-yard line. The ball hit the end zone marker and Argos cornerback Jordan Younger made illegal contact with the ball and possession was given back to the Bombers.
Bishop then capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to Adarius Bowman, to give Winnipeg a 24-9 lead.
The Argos scored their first touchdown, shortly after the four players were ejected. Kyle Jones blocked a kick before Andre Durie pounced on the ball in Winnipeg’s end zone.
Toronto succeeded on the two-point conversion to trim the deficit to 29-17.
Joseph scrambled three yards for a touchdown with six minutes remaining and the Argos made it 29-24.
Just before the three minute warning, Toronto’s Willie Pile forced and recovered a fumble to give the Argos possession on their 45 yard line, but the offence failed to move the chains.
Toronto had one more chance to score, but couldn’t convert with 30 seconds remaining.
The kickers accounted for much of the scoring in the first half as Justin Medlock made all three of his attempts for the Argos, while Winnipeg’s Alexis Serna went 3-for-4 through 30 minutes and added another field goal in the third quarter.